Writings and Witterings

The Banished Ash


Why only now ‘ready to go’?
You knew about it.
The fungus attack.
‘Yggdrasill shivers,
The ash, as it stands.
The old tree groans …’*

Our Anglo-Saxon heritage hails
Ash spears, shield-handles,
Smoothly strong and tough,
Flexible ash for walking sticks, tent
Pegs, oars, gates, tool handles, wheel
Rims, aircraft wings:
De Havilland Mosquito, World War II.
Buzz, buzz, buzz overhead,
Naked children
Passed through
The split trunk of ash in rituals
To cure limbs, heal rickets.

Attack by Chalara
Fraxinea fungus ~
Diamond lesions ~
Rampant in Europe,
And East Anglian woods.
Repeat Dutch elm
Repeat the scourge of the 70’s ~
The elm recovers only
Through careful husbandry,
Not as populous as once-upon-a-time.
We must act faster, save our woods and
Fend off fungus in our borrowed forests.

‘Yggdrasill shivers,
The ash, as it stands.
The old tree groans …’*
A fungus attacks.
Why only now ‘ready to go’?
You knew about it.

* Völuspá (Poetic Edda, 13th century)

Polly Robinson © 2012

The powers that be have known about this disease for 7 years and are only now banning the import of ash trees ~ too little too late? Let’s hope not, our ash trees form much of the woods and forests in UK. Should you want to know more, here are some links BBC, Forestry Commission

Ash Trees by Paul Walker

Ash Trees by Paul Walker (Photo credit: spratmackrel)


16 thoughts on “The Banished Ash

  1. Wonderful poem for a worthy cause.

    By the way, I started to read some of the poetry in Girl’s Got Rhythm last night. Lovely! I tried to find the book on Goodreads to add to my ‘Currently Reading’ list but couldn’t. Do you have it listed on there?


    • Thanks for your comments, Carrie, and for the info re Goodreads.

      I can only think that it’s not on Goodreads yet because the paperback version has not yet made it from Lulu to Amazon, it will take a few more weeks for the distribution to appear on Amazon (I think) … of course, it could be me being slow to work out how to load it onto Goodreads … I shall have a good look at it this week and see if I can work out how to do it, if it’s possible for me to do so. Should anyone reading this have ‘insider information’, please do let me know (!)


      • It’s easy to put your own book into Goodreads. I did when I signed up for the author program (but I don’t think you even need to do that to put a book into the system). Here’s a link–look under “Who Can Join?” and you’ll see another link for manually adding a book. 🙂 http://www.goodreads.com/author/program


        • Thanks Carrie, I think I’ve managed to load it now ~ perhaps you’d kindly check it out for me? (soz, that’s a bit of a cheek, but it would be nice to know if you can see it … *blush*) The only thing I can’t seem to get on yet is the cover image, but it looks like I have some work to do loading other books before I get ‘librarian’ status and can amend the entry (!)

          It’s so lovely to see that you’re reading ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’ ~ that makes it special 🙂


  2. Oh Polly this is a wonderful poem and so very sad and true. I’m afraid that “you knew about it” is becoming a world-wide mantra. I’m going to link this post to my new site and on my environment page if that’s okay? 😉


  3. Oh, Polly. Beautiful and sad.


  4. Pingback: Review: Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix « Books in the Burbs

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